The chairman of the Pottawattamie County Republican Party is urging GOP members to attend a lecture this week by a controversial speaker who will warn of the threat international Muslim extremist groups pose in the Midwest.
But the county’s GOP Central Committee voted against sponsoring the event, and a Muslim advocacy group is speaking out against it.
County GOP Chairman Jeff Jorgensen invited John Guandolo, a speaker sponsored by the Global Faith Institute in Omaha.
In past speeches, Guandolo has said that terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood may be working through American mosques and college campus Muslim organizations to overthrow the U.S. Government and impose Islamic law.
“We’re encouraging Republicans in Pottawattamie County to attend the event to hear someone who has credibility on the threat we face from international Muslim extremist groups,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen says Muslim groups may be laying plans to affect U.S. elections.
“What better place to start than in Iowa,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen proposed that the Pottawattamie County Republicans sponsor the event, and news reports had erroneously stated that the county GOP was backing the presentation.
But the Central Committee rejected Jorgensen’s proposal.
“Our chair discussed his idea at our last meeting and it was voted down,” said committee member Naomi Leinin in an e-mail. “He is not representative of our group.
“We are not a sponsor nor ever were,” Leinin added.
In a news release, the Iowa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) calls Guandolo an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who claims that mosques and Islamic Centers are organizing for armed confrontation with law enforcement.
“Guandolo is putting local Muslim communities at risk,” CAIR said in the release.
The Republican Party of Iowa is also distancing itself from the event.
"The Iowa GOP is not sponsoring, hosting, or otherwise participating in the event, and for anyone to claim to the contrary is demonstrably false," said spokesman Carlos Cruz.
The event will be held at the Oakland Community Center near Council Bluffs on Thursday night.